Why make photos or be a photographer? For me it is to experience the world in a more connected, conscious, and appreciative way.
Okay, we’re all distracted. We cannot go 5 minutes without checking our phones, or stimulating our eyeballs with visuals, or stimulate our ears with sounds.
We live in an insanely distracted society.
Now, is this a bad thing?
I think so.
If we’re distracted, we can’t savor the sweet joy and honey of living.
For example, if I eat a nice rack of lamb with rosemary (while looking at a phone, watching a show, or even reading a book) I cannot enjoy or even notice the flavors.
When I’m at dinner with Cindy, and if we are both on our phones, we cannot enjoy conversation with one another. To me, love, joy, and a relationship is all about the art of conversation– sharing our wins for the day, sharing our philosophies of life, and empowering and uplifting one another. If we’re being distracted by random shit on Facebook or Instagram or the internet, we cannot be present with one another.
Now, I think photography is a good way to fight distraction. Photography forces us to pay attention.
For example, by making photos of Cindy, I am reminding myself:
- One day Cindy will die, so I better appreciate my time with her on Earth.
- Cindy is beautiful, and I’m so grateful to have her in my life.
- Photographing Cindy is like dancing; Cindy knows how to pose for the camera, change and move her body position, and play with me.
Contrary to what others think, I believe photography helps us be more present with our loved ones.
Sometimes putting the camera away is a good thing. I enjoy fireworks with Cindy more when I’m not taking photos. I just hold her hand, see the crimson lights sparkle in the purple sky, and I feel an elated sense of calm, joy, and gratitude. If I’m frantically shooting photos, I cannot experience this wonderful moment with Cindy.
Photography is an experience of looking at images, and feeling a sense of gratitude, awe, inspiration, or emotional change.
When I look at my photos, I love the sense of profess. Simple snapshots of Cindy in our old home reminds me: “Cindy, remember when we used to live here? We have come so far.” Or possibly re-living past memories, like the memories of us going to a hipster beer garden in Berlin, eating fish with our moms on the coast of Portugal, us going to the farmers market with our moms in Paris and seeing their joy at all the variety of the fruit, or spending a summer in Marseille with my mom cooking fish soup for me and Cindy.
So the experience of looking at a photograph is to feel a sense of gratitude for the past, and a sense of gratitude for the growth we’ve had in life thus so far.
Also photography is an experience of interacting with the world differently.
For me, photography encourages me to wander, to explore, to look around, and talk to strangers. Photography encourages me to walk more, which is good for my physical and mental health.
Photography is a creative outlet for me. Instant paintings. Instant art. Making photos makes my spirit feel uplifted. Making photos helps me make social commentary and critique, which I hope changes the hearts and minds of others in a positive way.
Ultimately, consider photography as a form of experiencing life in a much richer, vivid, and beautiful way.
Photography is like salt, pepper, butter, and garlic for everyday living.
I love life, photography, and you.
Connect with other passionate photographers, artists, and fellow humans on ERIC KIM FORUM. Share why you like to make photos, and how photography brings more joy in your life.